SpinetiX has become the world’s first manufacturer of a non-PC based digital signage solution using Hyper Media technology. The SpinetiX HMP100 is purpose-built and doesn’t have moving parts; maintenance is almost eliminated and cost of ownership is reduced. The targeted features allow for a compact design and lower power consumption for a greener solution to what has been a technology compromise with PCs up till now.

The HMP100 is dedicated to displaying content and the solution is more robust and reliable. The advanced design makes the HMP100 smaller, easier to use and more robust than a PC. The HMP weights under 150g and energy consumption is only 2W which is up to 200-300 times less than a typical PC solution used in digital signage. The size, simplicity of use and open standards architecture, makes the HMP100 simpler to install, operate and maintain.

The digital signage market has been growing steadily over the last few years. The growth in this area is greater than other traditional AV markets which have stagnated or been effected by the economic climate. Digital signage has grown both in applications and size, making it the area of choice for AV dealers and system-integration companies looking to improve turnover and offer new services to their existing customer base.

New markets are appearing in digital signage in areas such as building evacuation, community communications, way finding (directions), scheduling displays, facilities and status displays, and many more areas. The traditional AV companies are looking for ways to leverage their current skills and technology servicing existing clients and attracting new clients.

PC-based solutions have been the most obvious choice for digital signage because of the apparent low cost and easy availability of the technology. PCs appear to offer a very versatile platform with lots of processing power in a familiar format.

Unfortunately some of the PC’s advantages also lead on to its weaknesses. Because a PC needs to be many things to many different people there are many elements of a PC which are not required for a digital signage applications or endanger reliability in a heavy-duty application like digital signage. Items like fans and hard disks have moving parts which will fail in time and there are other parts of the PC which rely on heat dissipation for performance and operation.

If heat builds up due to internal or external issues the PC becomes less dependable and can fail. These problems have been recognised by other industries, such as the automotive, industrial and medical sectors, where non-PC solutions are used instead as long-term operational reliability is essential to operations, and in some cases lives depend on it.

Almost anyone with programming knowledge can create digital signage applications; in some cases they use proprietary standards to achieve performance. The success of these proprietary standards can vary depending on the author’s abilities and experience, and often the author needs to change to new proprietary solutions as the supporting technology changes.

Open standards help make digital signage solutions more robust and cost-effective. It is clear that this process is just in its early phase; education is important to accelerate consolidation for end-users towards more specialised and efficient digital signage solutions. ISE is the right place to educate the market place and to discuss about such standards. If the industry organisations such as ISE and InfoComm promote and support the use of open standards such as XML, SVG, JavaScript and PHP, users will be able to use familiar tools to create content.

The open standards describe the content for the player, making the creation possible from any compatible third-party content creation application. Producing content using open standards is important to guarantee stability and allows digital signage costs to be reduced and the digital signage industry to mature and grow.